TKA agents respond to the Random House and Penguin merger. Interview with SWEET HELL ON FIRE author Sara Lunsford. Submitting your NaNoWriMo project to The Knight Agency.
The Knight Agency Newsletter: Write. Read. Repeat.

Knight Agents on TwitterKnight Agency on FacebookPinterest


We want to take a moment and give a quick hello and happy holidays to all of our newsletter members, old and new. Like all companies, as the holidays approach we look back and take stock of the past year. For us the blessings were many, including an ever-expanding client list, ten authors who boasted New York Times hits, super-secret movie projects in the works (hopefully we can tell you more next year!), more than 75 domestic book deals, and the addition of two members to our TKA team.
We’re happy for all of our clients’ successes, but in the wake of Veterans Day we want to spotlight one in particular: Purple Heart winner Bryan Anderson, who serves as a constant inspiration. A soldier in the Iraq War, Bryan was driving in a convoy when his truck ran over an improvised explosive device. The attack left him a triple amputee, but as he writes in his memoir NO TURNING BACK (recently released in paperback), this great misfortune helped him discover reserves of strength within himself that he never guessed were there. From the bottom of our hearts, we are thankful for the basic freedoms that Bryan and other military personnel have made possible through their service. What are you most thankful for this year?

Wishing you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday,
Deidre, Judson, Pamela, Lucienne, Nephele, Elaine, Melissa, Jia, Jamie, Whitney, and Travis


The Knight Post: Interview with Sara Lunsford (a.k.a. Saranna DeWylde)
Sales Roundup
Agency News
The Informer: A Change Will Do You Good by Melissa Jeglinski
Agent Round Table: Our Agents Weigh In on Random House and Penguin's Merger
Writing a Novel in 30 Days: Mission Impossible?

  • Q&A chat with Sara Lunsford (a.k.a. Saranna DeWylde) + a Secret Guest Thursday, November 15, 4:00 PM EST on Twitter. Use #KnightAuthor to chat.
  • David Mack's STAR TREK: COLD EQUATIONS: THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY debuted at #30 on the New York Times bestseller extended list.
  • Shirley Jump’s Amazon Top 20 hit THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, which is part of The Knight Agency’s assisted self-publishing program, captured the #106 spot on the USA Today bestseller list.
  • Self-pub star (and recent addition to the TKA family) Kate Dawes scored big when her Fade series hit the New York Times, USA Today, and MediaBistro bestseller lists.
  • Fourteen Knight Agency authors were nominated for Romantic Times awards.


Sara Lunsford has always been fascinated by things that some might say were better left unexplored: as a young girl she wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Since then, she’s published horror and Sweet Hell on Fire by Sara Lunsfordnarrative nonfiction, and has written romance under the name Saranna DeWylde. Like all writers, she's held a variety of jobs, in her case ranging from operations supervisor for an airline to a call girl’s assistant to a corrections officer. Yet as Hemingway said, “Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it,” so it was perhaps inevitable that she would trade in her cuffs and nightstick for a laptop. Described as "gritty, raw, and engrossing" by Publishers Weekly, SWEET HELL ON FIRE  is a memoir of her days as a corrections officer in a maximum security prison.

TKA: Most of your books, like the newly released HOW TO MARRY A WARLOCK IN 10 DAYS and the upcoming HOW TO SEDUCE AN ANGEL IN 10 DAYS, are written under the name Saranna DeWylde. Will we see another book from Sara Lunsford?

SARA: I’d love to produce more Sara Lunsford titles. I’d really like to explore true crime. I’m interested in female serial killers and the “she” culture in prisons—where men live as women, take female names, and sell their bodies to their fellow inmates, but don’t identify as transgender or gay. Both have an interesting and less-explored dynamic.

As for Saranna DeWylde books, I have a folder full of work that runs the gamut. Urban fantasy, erotica, romance, romantic comedy, literary…. It’s just a matter of which voice is speaking the loudest.

TKA: What drove you to accept a job as a corrections officer at an all-male maximum security prison?

How to Marry a Warlock in 10 DaysSARA: I grew up immersed in the prison culture. My father is a retired federal corrections officer and living on federal property, we had inmates who took care of our lawns and even skilled labor. Dialing “0” on my phone didn’t connect me with Southwestern Bell, but with the switchboard at the prison. Prison was just always a part of my life and it still is.
When I found myself in need of a job with benefits, it was there.

TKA: Which part of SWEET HELL ON FIRE was the most difficult to write?

SARA: The parts where I admit my weaknesses. Not my mistakes, I’ve owned those. But I’ve always felt that if I showed any weakness, it would be used as a weapon against me. So baring that part of me to anyone who decides to open the page, including those who’ve already hurt me, that was really tough. In the end, I decided it was worth it because I believe there are other people on the same journey and I wanted them to know they weren’t alone.  

TKA: The first thing anyone will notice when meeting you is your warm and charming smile. And then the tattoos. When did you get your first one and why? How many do you have altogether?

SARA: Thank you.

I have a total of seven. My first one is actually the only one I regret. It’s also the only one that has no deeper meaning to me except to annoy my mother. I got it when I was sixteen to prove I could make my own choices. It’s on my thumb. It was supposed to be tribal art, but looks like a five-year old’s rendition of a spider. It actually kept me from another law enforcement job I wanted with the highway patrol because a spider on the thumb or hand is a common gang tattoo. I’ve thought about having it removed, but it serves as a good reminder for a lot of things. Like choices. So, I guess it does have a deeper meaning after all. 

Follow Sara on Twitter
Friend Sara on Facebook
Learn more about Sara on her official site


WHEN: TOMORROW!!! Thursday, November 15, 4:00 PM EST
WHAT: Q & A chat with Sara Lunsford (a.k.a. Saranna DeWylde)—plus a Secret Guest!
WHERE: Twitter. Moderated by @KnightAgency
HOW TO CHAT: Use the hashtag #knightauthor to join the conversation

Join Sara to discuss how she handles wearing dual hats as an acclaimed nonfiction writer and romance author. And rumor has it that a “secret guest” will be showing up as well!

  • World Spanish rights to Nalini Singh's ARCHANGEL'S STORM, to Mondadori, by Philip Sane at Lennart Sane Agency, on behalf of Elaine Spencer at The Knight Agency.
  • Rosemary Clement-Moore's two new novels, to Krista Marino at Delacorte, in a very nice deal, by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.
  • USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera's BABY BUSINESS, about three sexy bachelors who meet their match when they take over a video game and find that making love is much sweeter than making war, to Charles Griesman at Harlequin Desire, by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency
Sales Roundup is a selective sampling of TKA's deals for the past month. For more info on our recent sales, visit

  • David Mack's STAR TREK: COLD EQUATIONS: THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY debuted at #30 on the New York Times bestseller extended list.
  • Lucienne Diver was quoted in an i09 article on the question of whether THE HUNGER GAMES would be published today.
  • Kate Dawes made waves last week when two titles from her Fade series, FADE INTO YOU and FADE INTO ME, hit the New York Times eBook bestseller list at #26 and #31 respectively. The books also debuted on the USA Today bestseller list at #62 and #68. Additionally, GalleyCat spotlighted her in its daily email when all three books from the series, including the conclusion FADE INTO ALWAYS, earned rankings on MediaBistro’s self-pub bestseller list. Kate joined The Knight Agency family this month.
  • The Bride Wore Chocolate by Shirley JumpShirley Jump’s Amazon Top 20 hit THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, which is part of The Knight Agency’s assisted self-publishing program, hit the #106 spot on the USA Today bestseller list.
  • NO TURNING BACK author Bryan Anderson attended a fundraiser for CAUSE, emceed by Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C. As part of an ongoing Veterans Day celebration, he will visit VA hospitals in Seattle and Portland.
  • Tommy Newberry continues to hold strong on the USA Today bestseller list with 40 DAYS TO A JOY-FILLED LIFE at #100.
  • Sheila Turnage's delightful middle-grade novel THREE TIMES LUCKY was named a Best Book of 2012 (Children's Fiction) by Publishers Weekly.
  • Morganville Vampires author Rachel Caine appeared on Good Morning Texas, where she discussed all things vampire with host Paige McCoy Smith.
  • Nalini Singh was interviewed at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Click HERE to watch.
  • Janet Mullany discussed her latest release, HIDDEN PARADISE, with Romantic Times. Watch the interview HERE.
  • N.K. Jemisin, Lynn Flewelling, Chloe Neill, and Gena Showalter are up for the Goodreads Readers' Choice Awards. Bestselling erotica author Sylvain Renard (whose publisher, Ominific, is a Knight Agency client) also received a nod.
  • Congratulations to the following authors on their Romantic Times nominations!


Kate Dawes: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Carey Lewis: Website | Twitter
Christi Barth: Website | Twitter


A Change Will Do You Good by Melissa Jeglinski

Melissa JegliskiI admit to once having been afraid of change. I worked for the same publishing company for seventeen years.  I lived in the same Queens apartment for eleven years.  And don’t even get me started on my last relationship.  Change equaled scary.  But after taking a huge leap of faith a few years ago (changing my career from editor to agent), and then again just recently (moving to North Carolina), I realize that change really did alter my life for the better.  Have you considered that change is what you need to adjust your career’s future?
Perhaps you have been querying the same project for months, or trying to finish that certain manuscript for years.  It can feel like you’re just spinning wheels. Here are a few things you might want to consider changing:
Change Your Writing Space.  Working at the same place all the time can get you into a rut.  Try taking your laptop outside, since fresh air can do wonders for writer’s block.  Why not try writing at a coffee shop or library?  You can write by hand if you don’t want to take your computer somewhere public.  And trust me, people-watching can make for fantastic inspiration. 
Change Your Point of View.  Have you been trying to write in first person because that’s what is expected in your genre?  Maybe it’s just not natural or your voice isn’t quite capturing the tone the way you want. Try third person and see if the words flow a little easier.  You can also try writing just one chapter in third person, then change it to first person and see if that reads any better. Finding your natural voice will make the story flow much more smoothly.
Change Your Genre. Are you writing to follow the market or your heart?  If you’re chasing what’s currently hot and the words just aren’t flowing the way you want, you may not have the right voice for that genre.  Historical might not be right for you—but you could be penning a terrific contemporary story if you just gave it a chance.  It’s a tough change to make, but when a book is written with real passion, it is so much more enjoyable to read... and so much easier to write.
Change Your Goals.  If you are obsessed with getting published by X date, then you may be putting yourself under too much pressure, and that can be debilitating.  Give yourself realistic, measurable goals, so that as you reach each one (finish one chapter, three chapters, write a synopsis, send out ten queries), you know you’ve truly accomplished something.  Being able to look back and see what you have done will do wonders for your psyche.
In the end, knowing when to open yourself up to change can make a huge difference in what you can accomplish.  Good luck on your journey!


How do you think the recent merger agreement between Random House and Penguin will affect the industry overall?

DEIDRE KNIGHT: It's a funny thing, but I'm pushing twenty years in this business. Almost. Seventeen years, which I think qualifies for pushing twenty. Anyway, I've witnessed a number of publishing mergers over the years. For instance, when Berkley Publishing Group and Penguin merged. My opinion is that so long as each imprint remains strong, and agents/authors are able to submit to multiple imprints within the conglomerate, I'm honestly not concerned. I'm on the side of fiscal strength, great distribution, and more opportunities, and I'm hoping that is what this merger will signal. Of course there will be inevitable downsides as some imprints are folded into other existing ones. But at the end of the day, I believe business will continue as usual, and stronger publishing structures will translate to better opportunities. Then again, I'm an optimist. :)

ELAINE SPENCER: As with most of the changes in the business these days, I think there will be positives and negatives as a result of the merger. As an agent, I worry that the diversity within different publishing houses and imprints may diminish as they continue to merge. Naturally I like having more places to sell to: the more options, the better. However, by the same token, combined forces will streamline certain processes that will benefit botPenguin and Random House logosh the author and the consumer. It will be interesting to watch how it shakes out in the months to come.

LUCIENNE DIVER: I think that in the short term not much will change. The publishers are, understandably, presenting this as a merger that will benefit everyone, cutting costs and giving the combined company more clout (25% of the book industry, according to the New York Times) in negotiations with vendors, etc. If it strengthens the company/companies and gives authors a greater chance of making an impact on the market, that's wonderful. Unfortunately, it will also mean less competition in the marketplace and will likely reduce the diversity of material being published. Frequently in mergers redundant lines are done away with or consolidated under the leadership of a single director, which means that the lines can't compete against each other for projects, and there's ultimately one power player whose perceptions affect what novels and series are acquired. So, while I look forward to seeing what ultimately comes out of the merger and the combined weight of these powerhouses, I mourn the shrinking number of major houses and imprints.

MELISSA JEGLINSKI: One thing I've learned from twenty years in publishing is that nothing stays the same. I've seen a lot of mergers, closings and also new avenues of publishing opening up, so maybe things all even out in the end. I can't say if this is going to be super-great news for authors, but I'm hopeful that the established imprints at both houses will stick around and we'll still have the various places and editors to submit projects to and find homes for great works. We adjust. We go on. Because we all love books.

Writing a Novel in 30 days: Mission Impossible?

Reports of carpal tunnel syndrome are up, and literary agents are bracing for an onslaught of submissions. That can mean only one thing: NaNoWriMo (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month) is in full swing. The event challenges writers to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month. Last year, competitors feverishly produced a grand total of 3,074,068,446 words. The question is, does all that hard work equal a saleable novel?

"I wrote the first draft of FANG GIRL (then titled, with great honesty, SUCKTASTIC) for NaNoWriMo," says Knight Agency client Helen Keeble. "That first 55,000-word draft included things like the entire climax of the plot, consisting of ‘[SOMETHING THRILLING HAPPENS HERE],’ so it was, um, hardly publishable. I think the version I submitted to Nephele [Tempest] was the fifth major draft."

As for Nephele's take, Helen's agent says, "I think NaNoWriMo is a great event that encourages so many writers to push themselves and get all those words down. The downside is when a participant fails to realize that their NaNo novel is just a draft and not a completed manuscript."

So, what's the verdict here at TKA? Can you create a work of genius in 30 days? We'd say it's highly unlikely unless you are the Usain Bolt of the writing world. However, you can build a solid foundation. We welcome the new crop of fresh-faced writers who have conquered NaNoWriMo, and then gone on to hone their second, third, fourth, or maybe even tenth draft.... Hey, whatever it takes.

For more info, read Nephele's post Do You Nano? Writing a Book in a Month or Helen's hilarious comparison of her NaNoWriMo draft versus the final product, or visit the official NaNoWriMo site.


------------- NOVEMBER RELEASES -------------

Copyright © 2012 The Knight Agency, All rights reserved.